Acupressure is acupuncture’s non-invasive cousin. The traditional Chinese medicine practice targets specific points on the body by applying pressure with fingers, as opposed to inserting needles. Users and practitioners of acupressure claim that by exerting pressure on certain points on the body, you can actually provide temporary relief for common aches and ailments like headaches, back pain, insomnia and nausea. For those of you who may be skeptical, there is a lot of research out there demonstrating real results, particularly with acupressure easing and improving the quality of sleep and easing nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. While this may just be the placebo effect, there is certainly evidence on both sides, not to mention thousands of years of development and practice.
Either way, if you are experiencing any simple ailments like headaches or nausea, it is certainly worth a shot before you go straight to an over-the-counter pill. To effectively use any of these points, apply pressure with your fingers for two to five minutes, or have someone else do it for you. You (or whoever is helping you) should never press until it hurts. If it becomes painful, stop immediately. If these issues become more serious or last more than a day or two, you should seek professional treatment. Here are some easy points to know for some common aches and pains:
Large Intestine 4 (or LI-4)
This point is located in the soft part of your hand between your thumb and index finger. It is one of the most universally beneficial points and can be used to treat ailments from headaches to neck pain to abdominal pain and sleep.
Li Nei Ting
This point is located between the second and third toes on the feet. It also has a wide range of applications, as specific as child epilepsy and toe pain and as common as headaches and shoulder, back and neck pain.
Liver 3 (or LR-3)
Just one toe over, between your big toe and second toe, lies Liver 3, which can help with stress, high blood pressure and menstrual cramps.
Stomach 36 (or Zusanli)
This point is located about three inches below the knee and just outside the shin bone, about half an inch. It is useful to treat abdominal pain and improve sleep quality.
Wei Zhong (or UB-40)
This point is located behind the knees in the very center of the crease. Also useful for a variety of pains and problems, it is commonly used to treat knee pain, back pain, arthritis, nausea and vomiting.